I have never in my life done a “Blog” before, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through many of the blogs on LJ’s. How you share your thoughts, plans, hopes, mistakes etc etc etc. makes for some very interesting and enjoyable reading. So as boring as mine may be, I have decided to put down in print all my planning, dreams, hopes victories AND failures as I start down the road of starting a new stand alone business.
Many of you know That I have been in the remodeling business since I was old enough to swing a hammer. I started by helping my Dad, worked through high school, and put myself through collage with it. I am not a larger contractor, but this business has been very good for me and my family, and has grown to the point where I now have a couple of crews that do most of the work. Leaving me to spend more time with my family and in my ever growing work shop, actually, other than bidding jobs, and doing the paper work, pay roll, final inspection and billing, about the only time I get hands on any more with the remodeling is when something fun comes up such as Kitchen cabinets, built-ins or a piece of custom woodwork. (And for those who are considering doing remodeling, this is a GREAT time to get into it imo. Many people who would buy a new house are now, because of the economy, remodeling what they have.)
I have always enjoyed making a piece of one of a kind furniture…just the pure joy of having nothing more than a pile of rough lumber sitting in my shop floor and a idea rolling around in the empty cavern on my shoulders, going through the process of planning, designing, figuring out impossible angles and even the mistakes…yes, I said I even enjoyed “Some” of the mistakes. We all learn through mistakes…and I have learned from some whoppers !!! But in the end, standing and looking at a piece of furniture that days/weeks or even months before, started out as nothing more than a pile of lumber and a idea is now a piece of pride that someone “May” pass on from mother to daughter or Father to son for generations to come (or may be sold in the next garage sale, lol) but to me, each and every piece that I have worked on..is a work of love…and like a child you have raised and sent out into the world, knowing you have done your best in every way to prepare them for the future…. When I send a piece of, in my opinion, heirloom quality furniture out of my shop, as silly as this may sound, I almost have the same feelings. I have put in my time, sweat, work, love…maybe even a small piece of my soul into that piece, and like a child, I have a hard time letting it go.
Well enough mushy stuff and back to the new business. As I said I have always been a remodeler, and when I was lucky, I would be asked by a customer to build a custom piece. A entertainment center, built in book shelves, maybe a hand carved bedroom set etc. I have also built almost all of our homes furniture, and many pieces for my family and friends. But it has always been more of a hobby and a work of love than a job. But through word of mouth, and friends seeing pieces I have done, more and more people over time have asked me to build more and more.
So it has now gotten to the point that it is no longer a hobby, but fast becoming a full time job. I have played with the idea for years of doing this full time, but was always afraid to “Pull the trigger”. While I have always been able to “Get by” with the tools I have (contractors tools for remodeling), to do the quality work I want, and do it on a consistent basis and to make my time in the shop more profitable, I need to do some serious upgrades on many of my tools. So I am just going to “Pull the trigger” and do it all at one time. I just bought a new 8 inch Grizzly jointer about two weeks ago (which I love by the way). But instead of ordering one tool at a time, I am ordering a new Grizzly table saw, 20 inch spiral planer, and 17 inch band saw next week. (Waiting for a clients check to come in next week and stay out of the savings).
I don’t know if anyone will even be interested in reading this in the future. But if this is received well, I will update you as the tools come in, redoing my shop to be more productive, and walk through with you as I try and make a go of it.
My next entry will be when the new tools arrive and setting them up, and after that, I have four large commissioned piece’s of work to start with. So I invite you to read along and offer advice when you see me about to fall flat on my butt.
I would also like to thank Todd A. Clippinger, A1Jim, tool dad and a few others for their advice and help.
-- Don S.E. OK